Companies that are still fully based on documents in traditional – and outdated – paper form can still be found on the market. This is why the entire process of conclusion of agreementskeeps getting longer and longer. The customer must be present at the branch office in person and sign the relevant documents. Then, the employee’s duty is to scan them and to enter data into the IT system. If a company handles hundreds of paper agreements every day, a huge team is needed to manage them. Fortunately, documentation handling is one of the routine tasks that can be made by robots seconded by humans.
With automation the document flow process combined with their digitization, the daily operation of each enterprise can be significantly improved:
- the risk of making a mistake when entering large amounts of data into the system is minimized,
- access to documents in digital form is much easier, as is their storage,
- employees can be focused on more complex duties, while robots handle documentation.
How to Automate Document Management?
STEP 1: standardisation of forms of data collection
One of the problems companies have to cope with is the wide variety of forms in which employees receive data from customers (hand-filled paper documents, scans, online forms, etc.). Due to their heterogeneity, the whole workflow is difficult and prolonged.
The first step on the way to automate these processes should be to standardise forms of collecting information from customers. A good solution is to use interactive forms on the website. Based on the forms, agreements can be automatically generated. Another way are applications in the form of PDF files, which are filled using the keyboard, not a pen.
STEP 2: automating entering data into the system
With unification of forms of data collection, there is no need to enter information into the IT system manually. The form with the data entered by the customer is automatically transferred to the system, where it is assigned a number. Then, the customer receives the agreement in an electronic or traditional way, and then, the customer signs the document and sends it back by post or scans it and sends it by e-mail. In some cases, an electronic signature can be used.
Once the company receives the documents signed by the client, they should be compared with the information stored in the system. If the agreement was sent by traditional post, you must scan it first. Using the OCR function, the data contained in the documents are read. Then, the program finds the form number in the database and automatically verifies the information contained in the agreement. Data is saved in ERP, CRM or SAP systems with the option of automatic or manual verification. The information is attached to the customer’s file, and then, a status change notification is sent so that further actions can be carried out.
Where Can the Automation of These Processes Be Used?
In order to keep their clients, all companies must adapt to their expectations. At present, people would like to settle all formalities without leaving their home, therefore financial institutions are introducing the option to download the necessary documents from a website or completing online applications. On the websites of most banks, applications can be submitted for:
- credits and loans,
- leasing etc.
On the other hand, in insurance companies, customers can complete online forms, report incidents/damages, and submit claims for payment of benefits online. Financial institutions also accept complaints without leaving home.
The medical sector has great potential for IT, but Polish health care is only at the beginning of changes related to digitisation. There is still a long way to go to completely eliminate paper documentation.
The introduction of e-prescriptions, e-referrals and e-sick leaves, as well as the digitization of medical records is an important activity in this respect. The implementation of these services will bring many benefits, because doctors will not be required to complete these forms manually, and all data will be transferreddirectly to the IT system, which will also improve the flow of information between different entities. All these services are successively implemented to eliminate paper documents in the coming years.
The Polish state is consistently moving towards the digitisation of administration, as evidenced by further e-services that allow you to handle the essential official matters without leaving home. Polish citizens can use several government platforms and portals, and the most important of them include ePUAP (Elektroniczna Platforma Usług Administracji Publicznej [Electronic Platform of Public Administration Services] and obywatel.gov, which, among other things, allow to:
- submit an application for an ID card, as well as report its damage or loss,
- notify a child’s birth,
- submit an application for a copy of a marital status certificate and other status certificates,
- download a clean criminal record,
- submit an application for the EHIC,
- monitorthe status of applicationson a regular basis.
At present, works are also underway on the Portal of the Republic of Poland, which is to be the gateway to all public information and e-services.
Although the word ‘document’ still first brings to mind a piece of paper, reality shows that more and more often it is becoming digital. Digitisation of documents together with the automation of back office processes can significantly improve the operation of any enterprise. Since more and more companies are deciding to implement these solutions, they will soon be necessary for everybody so as not to lose one’s position on the market.